20,000 epaulettes to commemorate PC Andrew Harper and all in emergency services

After the death of PC Andrew Harper in the Thames Valley last August, dozens of tributes were left at the scene. One was an epaulette with a piece of blue ribbon, donated by another police officer.

It sparked an idea to collect epaulettes in tribute. Six months on, tens of thousands have been donated from around the world.

  • Watch Charlotte Briere-Edney's report below:

From police to prison officers, paramedics to community support officers, firefighters, Royal navy police and many many more from every part of the United Kingdom are represented here.

  • PC Stuart Roberts, Northamptonshire Police:

PC Stuart Roberts placed his epaulette at the scene of Andrew Harper's death

PC Stuart Robert visited the scene of Andrew Harper's death, placing his epaulette there in tribute. After posting a picture on social media, the idea of creating a collection in honour was born.

And I decided to invite other officers from all the services to donate so we could create a memorial to him. But it became so big so quickly that it was clear that it was about, dare I say, more than just PC Harper. And it was there to commemorate all those who've lost their service be it either through voluntary or professional services within the UK.

PC Stuart Roberts, Northamptonshire Police

Epaulettes have been sent from all over Europe and as far as America, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand- from officers and whole forces touched by the story of PC Harper's death and compelled to be part of the memorial.

The collection now numbers more than 20,000 and is still growing.

The collection now numbers more than 20,000 Credit: ITV Meridian
  • Aaron Childs, Firefighter:

Epaulettes are a very personal symbol for those who work in protective services.

Often completely unique to a particular force or unit, they can bear the names, numbers or ranks of individuals, making them instantly recognisable.

Epaulettes are a very personal symbol for those who work in protective services. Credit: ITV Meridian
  • PC Jonathan Prescott, Merseyside Police:

The plan is now to create a huge mural with a local artist charged with the commission.

I understand now how much it means to families, that they're loved one is not just a number, that they are more than that, that their service is recognised. I think a scene, you know that sort of Endgame scene, showing everyone doing their bit, would be perfect.

Sam Bailey, Artist

Where exactly the mural will be displayed hasn't yet been decided, but those involved are keen for it to be public, so all can visit and reflect on the work and sacrifice of those who serve and protect us.

Where exactly the mural will be displayed hasn't yet been decided Credit: ITV Meridian